“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou
Right after Daniel died I was inundated with people describing his attributes at work, memories of growing up with him, his athleticism and competitive spirit on the ball field, activities he engaged in and who he was as a man. Funny anecdotes were often favorites, prank calls he made to others, practical jokes he often played, witty statements thrown quickly, dry humor in the office and at home. Others described him as patient and kind and giving as well as a whole slew of other adjectives. Daniel made others FEEL. He made you laugh and feel good about yourself, and he could laugh at himself as well. When you called with a pesky computer problem he was patient and kind, he made you FEEL comfortable, instead of telling you what an idiot you were. (He shared those thoughts with me later.)
Daniel made me FEEL that it was OK that I was a strong woman. He appreciated my strength and challenging nature. It was OK to be exactly who I was and am. He made me FEEL that I was beautiful and made me FEEL loved unconditionally. He made me FEEL that way every day as he put me first in our life. I know that he made many others FEEL each day he interacted with them as well. I hope those feelings stay with you as you remember and think of him. I can only hope as time goes on that I returned enough of those feelings to him; that I made him FEEL loved, appreciated, understood and that I recognized and told him what an exceptional man he was. I hope that he knows he was my world and I hope that was enough.
It's been a difficult few weeks for us for a variety of reasons. We are on summer break at our house, which changes our schedules around. Change is always difficult. We are juggling many upcoming variations to our schedules and schools and I am putting everything I have toward managing these two amazing little boys who are growing up so fast, and are mature beyond their years. The realities of our broken family slam all three of us each day.
"Daddy is not here. He is heaven," Lucas states tonight about one of his LEGO characters to another. I sit quietly in the background and listen to the dialogue from his ever growing imagination that often focuses on dads and that they are not coming back.
I have been back to crying and feeling overwhelmed lately. I have been doing more yelling as the frustrations take over. Lucas has been in a funk. We are swirling the drain again and feeling a little lost. I think of Daniel a thousand times a day, as I know Lucas and Reed do as well. We all continue this uphill battle with our grief.
My new pick-me-up is posted below in the youtube video. Everyone needs things to motivate them. Everyone needs things in their life and people who make them feel good. I have learned to surround myself with people that support and uplift me instead of those that bring me down. Surround myself with activities and events that lift me up.
I have said previously, music is one of those things for me. As you read my blog posts I hope that you find something to hold onto with each post. You don’t have to be a widow to relate or gain something here. You just need to be human. I recognize we all have struggles, some smaller or larger than others, but we are all striving to reach similar goals of happiness and good health in this thing we call life. When you need a pick-me-up or a push to reach any kind of goal; when you are feeling like life is beating you down; try this song and keep your head up. Goals are obtainable. Nothing is outside of your reach if you want it badly enough and know we are all battling something.
Rise Up. Keep the Faith and Rise Up.
I will continue to share our story, Daniel. I will not let others forget you. You told me before you died, "Thank you for helping me become the man I am today." Ditto to you my love.
"What's your dad's name? What does he look like? Where is he?" These questions plague our four year old right now. He has asked these three very questions to almost every adult he has come in contact with over the past few weeks.
I have previously described the mind of our three and four year old and how he continues to try and process the death of his father. Our two year old is starting to ask similar questions as well; “I want to see daddy,” he often simply states. I try to take time each day and have a conversation with them about Daniel. I describe his likes, his strengths, and affirm how much he loved them and loved being a dad.
I wish I knew the right thing to say at all times. I wish I felt confident in handling them and helping them, but I don't. I don't have a guide. Going through this process with two young developing minds is mind boggling. They demand to know answers, plead with me to bring back their father, seek concrete answers that are abstract and not easily explainable. All I want for our boys’ is safety, good health and happiness, the same wants most parents share. I describe what I feel they can handle and describe Daniel to the best of my ability, praying that I am doing the right things each day.
All three of us have found some sense of healing through song, or music rather. Lucas and Reed both know most of the current popular music on the radio because even though I have a two and a four year old I still blare music in our car each afternoon. Right now we enjoy Lukas Graham and Meghan Trainor as well as Taylor Swift and Ruth B. We are those morons you see driving down the road dancing in their seats and singing to each other with the upmost conviction.
Driving to the zoo today for our annual Father’s Day tradition, the song “You Can't Always Get What You Want,” came on the radio. Honestly, I'm not shedding tears as often as I was, but for some reason tears swam in my eyes this morning. That’s the thing about grief; it grabs you and knocks you down at any moment. Daniel is always in the forefront of my mind, especially today as we celebrate him and feel his absence more than ever.
You were gone before we knew it,
And only God knew why
A million times we needed you,
A million times we cried
If Love alone could have saved you,
You never would have died
In Life we loved you dearly
In death we love you still
In our hearts you hold a place,
That no one could ever fill
It broke our hearts to lose you,
But you didn’t go alone
For part of us went with you,
The day God took you home.
We Love you, Happy Father’s Day,
Lucas & Reed
I had lunch with a dear friend of mine this week. We did our usual catching up and talking about our kids, sharing things about work; and what was currently keeping us both busy. As we were wrapping up our lunch and preparing to leave she looked at me and said, “I always enjoy meeting with you and catching up. Every time I leave you, I immediately call my husband when I get in the car to tell him how much I love and appreciate him.” (This occurs after she has bitched about him not doing anything around the house, and talked about how he does not take initiative and that he needs to simply hire someone to get the damn projects done at home, because it takes him too long!)
Why, oh why, does it often take someone else's tragedy for us to fully appreciate what we have in front of us? We are so quick to pick out flaws in others, especially our spouses and immediate family members. I wish I could complain about Daniel not doing enough around the house. I wish I could split things 25/75 right now, probably even go 15/85 but my reality does not allow that. My reality says yes, your husband or wife should have closed the cabinet dwarers (a pet peeve at my house), started the laundry, hung up that picture that you asked them to hang two weeks ago, however those mundane things are not the end of the world. How about be thankful that your spouse took your kids to school, or simply sat and watched a television show with you, or worked an eight hour day to be able to provide. Be thankful. Celebrate the people in your life.
I am guilty of this as well. I took our boys to the local amusement park yesterday and a young girl at the waterpark was bald. She may have been suffering from alopecia, but most likely she was battling her own cancerous demons. I grabbed Lucas and Reed and held on tight for a few moments, feeling grateful for their good health, something I often take for granted.
Instead of searching for the next big thing, be thankful for what you have and for what is in front of you. Read this and do as my friend did, grab your spouse and give them an extra piece of yourself today. Take a moment and say I love you. Appreciate that they are there and appreciate what you have with them every single day.
Meet the Author (me)
Driven by a need to help others. I have known from a young age that this is what I wanted to do. This is my very real, somewhat sarcastic, look into my newfound widowhood. I hope this site will help you as much as it helps me.